Design Features

Early College Designs

Reinventing High Schools for Postsecondary Success

Combining high school and college in a rigorous, supportive environment that enables struggling students to graduate with college credit and the tools for postsecondary success.

Joel Vargas
Vice President, School and Learning Designs
617.728.4446 x117

Design Features

Early colleges incorporate key features that promote success for all students and have proven particularly effective for students who have struggled academically. The six key features are:

  • Aligned curricula and instruction: A coherent instructional framework aligned to college-ready standards, with consistent instructional practices across all content areas, establishes a strong college-going culture and prepares students for postsecondary success.
  • Personalization and student supports: Student-centered learning environments promote personalization, engagement, and close relationships among students and staff, with assistance based on assessments that identify the needs of each individual.
  • Power of place: Early college schools are located on or near college campuses and draw on that environment to enable high school students to experience real college coursework and build their identity as college goers.
  • College credit: Students simultaneously earn a high school diploma and up to two years of transferrable college credit—tuition free.
  • Partnerships: Strong partnerships with colleges foster shared responsibility for student success, with collaboration on the development of academic programs that meet secondary and postsecondary standards and provide appropriate student supports.